Redoing old cupboards

Janet Bartee
by Janet Bartee
I have old kitchen cupboards made of pressed wood with a wood grain paper like laminate over the top. They are from the 70's and I would so like to paint them but am afraid the paper might come off. Any suggestions or someone who has handles this task?
q painting old laminate cabinets, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painted furniture, painting, woodworking projects
  14 answers
  • Jennifer Tucker Jennifer Tucker on Jan 27, 2015
    Yes! Mine were the same. Well, I think. The cabinets were the press-board and the doors are wooden. I suggest cleaning them really well. (I cleaned once with Dawn and then, once with clorox cleanup. Start with a coat of Kilz primer. Take a look at my reno here: Good luck!!

  • Sarah Sarah on Jan 27, 2015
    I understand what you are saying about the ‘wood grainpaper like laminate’. Your cabinets seemto be a sawdust composite board covered with the ‘wood grain paper likelaminate’. You certainly can paintthese. If you feel they need cleaningbefore painting, be careful of how much water you use. A semi-damp cloth would be good. Getting the cabinets too wet may cause the ‘woodgrain paper like laminate’ to blister. Use a primer first then paint. You should have good luck.

  • Peggy alred Peggy alred on Jan 27, 2015
    Use oil base primer. You can then paint over the primer with water based paint. You can't paint over water based primer with oil based paint. Or you can use oil base for both.

  • Janette Janette on Jan 27, 2015
    Have you considered chalk painting them? I plan to chalk paint a old metal cabinet and a wood chest, perhaps even my 1955 kitchen cabinets if all goes well with it.. Check it out on the internet. You don't even have to prep them and you can make your own chalk paint very cheaply.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 28, 2015
    Definitely paint. Good advice has been given. Clean gently, use oil-based primer, and a good quality enamel or similar top coat. The groove detail gives you the opportunity of getting creative. I'd probably go with a warm white, and do the grooves in a taupe or similar. (Am not a fan of distressing - items always look like they need a good coat of paint. LOL) Advice is so easy to give! Your kitchen will look so much brighter and fresher.

    • See 1 previous
    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 30, 2015
      @Janet Bartee Maybe there's a shortcut. Depending on how deep the grooves are, maybe you'll get enough of a shadow to make them look detailed.

  • Jlane684 Jlane684 on Jan 28, 2015
    I have found using Bull Eyes made by Zinsser can paint over any glossy items, vinyl, laminated pressboard cabinets, don't have to preclean and it has a primer already in product, found at Lowe's in paint section, check it out. Don't use any cleaner or water on laminated cabinets!

  • Rosemary Kelly Rosemary Kelly on Jan 28, 2015
    Like others have said, a good primer is key, especially on dark wood. I went from a walnut like yours to white, so you might need more than one coat. I would take the hardware off and label it with tape to be able to put it back on the same doors in the same place. Painting the hardware is a lot cheaper than replacing it and you don't have to worry about it "fitting". Rust-O-Leum makes some nice metallics. Love to see the after pictures when you're done.

  • Ciara M. Ciara M. on Jan 28, 2015
    I agree with Jlane, Zinsser will work! It's made specifically for bonding paint to things that are glossy, metal, plastic, etc. Just give it one light coat and it dries really quick. You'll be ready to paint in no time! Good luck!!!

  • Janet Manger Janet Manger on Jan 28, 2015
    Paint stores sell whole kits for these type of jobs. If the cabinets are not big you might want to try one.

  • Pamela Langone Pamela Langone on Jan 28, 2015
    Paint and update your hardware. Changing out the hardware will help clean up the new look

  • Trudy Hibler Trudy Hibler on Jan 28, 2015
    The hardware can easily be updated, too, with just some good spray paint. Spray a coating of clear coat over it for protection.

  • Kathi S Kathi S on Jan 28, 2015
    Another good primer/base coat is Glidden's Gripper.

  • Annette Annette on Jan 29, 2015
    I have the same type cabinets and plan on painting them with chalk paint, no need to primer and dries fast. Might gently wash with TSP which is made for this kind of project. I think I will paint the inside of one of the cupboard doors first to get the hang of it. Be sure to use the wax over the chalk paint, 2 coats, to seal it. As suggested above search out how to use, and make, chalk paint.

  • Rory Givens Rory Givens on Aug 25, 2018

    Hi can I help